A free, publically accessible site where Employee Assistance (EA) professionals can post original works, historical documents and other related papers or multi-media, has grown to more than 1,500 articles since the archive was created five years ago at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
The EA Digital Archive was created in 2013 by University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) Associate Professor Jodi Frey Ph.D., LCSW-C, CEAP, and Patricia Herlihy Ph.D., RN, founder of Rocky Mountain Research. UMSSW is the only social work program with a dedicated Employee Assistance (EA) curriculum, chaired by Frey, as part of its Masters in Social Work. The intent of the EA Digital Archive is to preserve important historical and current documents in the EA field as well as to provide an international depository for all significant articles, presentations, and related materials in the field.
To date, more than 400 authors from around the world have submitted materials to the Archive and more than 3,000 people have visited the website (www.eaarchive.org) as global users seek to learn and use the Archive for research and personal learning. One does not have to be affiliated with UMB to use the site or submit to it.
“Given the growing international presence of Employee Assistance, and unique contributions being made from multiple disciplines and professionals, the Archive fills a gap by providing a free and permanent space and place where students, professionals, practitioners, and really, anyone, can come to learn about the ever-changing field,” Frey said.
Soon after Frey accepted her position as chairperson of the Employee Assistance Program Sub-specialization at UMSSW in 2006, she began receiving requests from soon-to-be retiring leaders in the EA field asking if they could mail boxes of EA-related articles, books, and other materials to her office for preservation and future use with EAP students. Frey knew she lacked space to house these historical artifacts and capacity to properly make them available to the public. Around the same time, Herlihy was seeking a partner to create an archive for the EA field. Herlihy shared her interests about an EA Archive with Frey at a conference.
Shortly after this discussion, Frey was online at UMB’s Health Science and Human Services Library (HSHSL) site and saw a newly posted announcement for the UMB Digital Archive. She realized that the HSHSL was transitioning its physical archives to digital versions and began the process of working with Herlihy and the library staff to create the EA Digital Archive. The HSHSL provides the infrastructure, curation, and consultations to make the EA Digital Archive a viable platform for EA professional learning and sharing.
In addition to its popularity among EA professionals, the Archive has recently forged several important partnerships that have resulted in an ever-growing compilation of historical and current works in the EA field. New partners include the Employee Assistance Report (which recently published an article about the EA Digital Archive), the Employee Assistance Professionals Association and the Employee Assistance Society of North America, all of which have agreed to submit published works to the Archive.